Friday 27 January 2017

This Horrible, Horrible Week's Comics

Oh, its been a hell of a week, hasn't it? Never have I been so grateful for my comics to arrive than this week, the chance for either some escapism or to get really, really angry and I didn't care which I just wanted to not think about Trump for a hour or so.

So, let's look away from the blackened maw of death for a while and throw some opinions out into the aether, shall we?

The Kamandi Challenge #1

I have been waiting for year for DC to do something with this property. I loved the Kamandi feature in Wednesday Comics waaaay back in 2009 but there hasn't been much done with the Last Boy On Earth since. He turned up for a bit in Multiversity and some crossover spots here and there but nothing really extended. Now we have a twelve part maxi-series (do we still call them that?) with an all-star creative team.

Multiple all-star creative teams. I like the idea of this round robin series format, even if the second half of this issue makes me wish that Dale Eaglesham could be drawing the whole thing. I love Eaglesham's art style and in spite of Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish doing a more “faithful” rendition of Jack Kirby's style, Eaglesham's somehow seems more in the spirit of it.

Story wise, this is pretty much a complete reboot but its DC so who's honestly surprised? This company has never met a wheel it didn't want to reinvent. That said, its not like this is story people are anywhere near as familiar with as Batman's origins so it is probably sensible.

Giffen and Koblish's first half handles the origin pretty well, setting us up the mystery of who Kamandi is and how he ended up in that bunker whilst Abnett and Eaglesham do the heavy lifting on world building the Tiger Empire. Both episodes move at a good pace and the art teams cram them with visual information to the point at which you sort of come to resent the more drawn out pace of other comics.

Detective Comics #949
Batwoman Begins finale

As a prologue to the new Batwoman series this was great, though I am rather confused about why we're getting a Rebirth one-shot before the series proper as this two-parter delivered a pretty compelling manifesto all on its own. Saying what that manifesto is would be spoiling too much but the whole issue is about the difference between Bruce's methods and mission and Kate's.

On a related note, Kate has a wonderful moment of just not caring about Bruce's disapproval when she uses a gun and it is glorious. One way to make me love a Bat-family character is to have them just not care about Bruce's moaning (see also Jason Todd and Tim Drake).

Very much looking forward to the Batwoman ongoing but more looking forward to the next Detective storyline which promises me the League Of Shadows, which hopefully means their little prisoner is going to be making his comeback.

Daredevil #16
The Seventh Day part two

This was a nice character piece, which I wasn't expecting. When a Daredevil writer brings in Bullseye you sort of expect them to go for the epic confrontation between Daredevil and his worst, greatest foe. This.,. went a completely different direction. Bullseye's presence is pretty much ignored, His effect on Matt is explored, what Bullseye means in the grand scheme of things, but there's no big fight, the two characters barely interact.

That could be disappointing but instead we get to dive deep into Matt's state of mind. Next issue promises, after more than a year, to tell us how and why Matt erased knowledge of his secret identity from the world and this issue tells us where Matt is as a person as a consequence.

Plus, this story gave us a new priest character for Matt to bounce off: Father Jordan, a funny sort of Catholic priest. Not in the sense of his personality but in the sense that Marvel might be playing with the history of the Catholic faith in ways I don't think they have before.

Before this story my interest in the series was flagging but I'm more than willing to reserve judgement now I've seen this creative team show me more of the character they want to convey in Murdoch and with the promise of long-withheld answers.

Infamous Iron Man #4

Aside from that awful Bendis habit of only getting to what the cover promises on the last page, this was a very nice issue.

Now, even though I read comics to years beforehand what made me a fan was Bendis, Maleev and Hollingsworth's Daredevil run and the nostalgic glow this issue gave me to those days was immense. The first half of the issue is a lovingly rendered sit down chat between SHIELD director Maria Hill and Victor Von Doom, our Infamous Iron Man. The dialogue sings, chipping along with a great back and forth rhythm between the two whilst the art sells every inflection of the dialogue through facial expressions and posture.

Elsewhere in the issue we get to see that his face turn hasn't robbed Doom of his steel as he confronts the general he left in charge of Latveria for his failures. One thing I have always liked about Doom in most incarnations is that no matter how horrible he is to the Fantastic Four or whatever other heroes he fights he genuinely does care about his people. Now, this isn't true in every version but my favourites have always been the ones where Latveria is pretty well off as dictatorships go, perhaps not a country you'd want to live in but you can see how Doom thinks he's doing the right thing.

I just look forward to next month and getting to see the scene the front cover and last issue's cliffhanger promised me, is all. 

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